Life Lessons: Acts of heroism



We can’t help but notice those stories that touch us and make us feel good when we hear about them. It is a pleasure hearing those stories of courage, unselfishness and acts of heroism displayed by ordinary people who do extraordinary things. It seems that we are always seeing sad and tragic things in the news on a regular basis so it is refreshing and a testament to human nature when we hear of someone putting their life in peril to help out a fellow human being without thinking twice about it. I was touched by a story where a man without hesitation jumped into the cold waters at the South Street Seaport from the deck of a boat to rescue a 2 year old girl who had fallen more than 20 feet from the gangplank into the icy waters. Her father also jumped in to save his baby girl.

The man who first jumped in pulled her from the waters where she surely would have drowned and helped place her in her father’s arms safe from the cold and dirty waters. Hearing this makes you appreciate the best side of human nature where people do care and will do their absolute best to help someone in need. The man who saved the baby girl’s life did not seek accolades or reward as he seemed to disappear during all the commotion once he placed the baby girl safely in her father’s arms. When news stations learned about this mystery hero they put the word out to try to find and establish his identity and acknowledge him for his brave and wonderful act of courage in saving the precious little baby girl’s life.

If I was thrust into a situation where I would have to react quickly it’s hard to say how I would respond but I feel in my heart I would do all I could to help as I would expect someone to help if I or a family member needed help. I have faith in human nature and feel most people would lend a helping hand. I always have concern for my son who is autistic and suffers from epilepsy and I am always concerned for his safety when I am not with him and I put my faith in others to help him if he was having a seizure.

It is a very scary thing to witness and you have to react quickly and always look to protect the child who is having an epileptic seizure. I have seen my son’s seizures and each one is difficult to watch and my main concern is that he is protected from hitting his head and that he comes safely out of the seizure. Seizures tend to run from a few seconds to possibly minutes and the longer a seizure runs the more dangerous it is to the child experiencing it. You need to do all you can to bring the child out of the seizure. My son has slept them off and it does take a lot out of him as he certainly needs to rest after experiencing one.

I am very proud of my nephew who is a Marine serving his country and seeking to do his part. I remember when he first told us he was enlisting with his best friend we were concerned and we trusted his decision as well as his friend’s. It was nice that the 2 boys were going to boot camp together and it was a defining moment for both as they were becoming young men serving their country with pride. When they graduated boot camp we were so proud of them both and we were concerned but put trust in them. As they both left for their assignments which took them to different locations no one expected what would happen within a year after their graduation.

We knew they may always be put in harm’s way but no one expected that my nephew’s best friend and fellow Marine, Lance Cpl. Libardo Anthony Jimenez would die tragically on the base in a boxing exhibition match. He was only 21 years old and was rushed to the base hospital after suffering a blow to the head. He never regained consciousness and died 2 days later. His act of human kindness was something he did at the tender age of 19 years old when he volunteered to be an organ donor by signing the back of his license. In his tragic death his family honored his request to donate his major organs to save the lives of others. His death helped give life to seven people who became recipients of his major organs. It is difficult losing someone so young but seeing the gift he willingly gave to others makes you realize how much of a hero he was and how he was so unselfish and did the ultimate. It brings a tear to my eyes knowing he was such a great friend to my nephew and grieving the loss and realizing the tragic circumstances of his death. My heart goes out to his family and his friends and to my nephew who is hurting over his best friend’s death.

Hero’s come in all sizes and most don’t even consider themselves any different or special at all. They believe that their actions are just typical normal reactions in the moment and feel that they had no other choice. They feel they just happened to be put in that situation and they reacted accordingly. Most people who perform heroic actions just do it in the normal course of a day’s work and wish to remain anonymous. It is the people who put their lives on the line every day who are the true heroes and we should never forget.

I view the fireman and rescue workers who put their lives in danger at any moment of the day to save others the real heroes and I view the men and women who perished and those who survived and who put their lives on the line that day on September 11th the real heroes of our generation.

I also acknowledge my dad as a hero as he put his life on the line every day when he was on the job and he took such pride in helping build the bridges, high rises, hospitals and schools. My dad is my hero and so is my mom!

Edward D. Iannielli III

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